The Home Secretary Suella Braverman visited Brighton today to hear about how police patrols at The Level saw a 55% drop in anti-social behaviour.
The city-centre park, which had an award-winning revamp ten years ago, has long been a crime hotspot.
Today, she met with Sussex Police chief constable Jo Shiner to discuss how police patrols have been put on there to combat this.
She said: I was in Brighton today where hotspot police patrols by Sussex Police have seen a 55% drop in anti-social behaviour.
“I am committed to tackling anti-social behaviour and we are looking at further ways to ensure the law abiding majority feel safe in their communities.
Antisocial behaviour is a blight on our communities and can leave people feeling unsafe.
— Suella Braverman MP (@SuellaBraverman) February 9, 2023
Brighton and Hove Police periodically put on extra patrols to combat drug dealing, robbery, graffiti and other crimes.
In May last year, Sussex Police said that a police hub set up by the fountains – similar to one which operated there in 2013 – had seen a 60% drop in anti-social behaviour.
In July 2019, police reported an even bigger drop of 84% when patrols and a mobile police station were introduced there that month.
It’s not clear which figures Ms Braverman is referring to in her tweet today.
When the park first reopened after its multimillion-pound facelift in 2013, community support officers were based in one of the new community rooms by the fountains. However, they moved out soon afterwards.
At around the same time, Sussex Police’s neighbourhood policing teams were slashed because of swingeing cuts to policing budgets.
In March last year, the Level Communities Forum said crime in the park had become “worse than ever” – blaming the continued boarding up of the flagship cafe as leaks under its floor are investigated.
The café and the public toilets housed in the same building are still closed although signs around it say the council is making repairs.
A recent council report on the closure of public toilets said: “The Level toilets are currently closed due to significant issues with the building they are housed in which require substantial remedial work and investment to bring the building and toilets back into use.
“Further to this, these toilets are the focus of anti-social behaviour and drug dealing. The location and orientation may also be a factor that needs to be considered.
“The Level café and toilets are subject to an options appraisal at present and the options will be presented to committee for a decision in spring/summer 2023.”
ITV were the only media invited to the Home Secretary’s visit.
Sussex Police says it will not be commenting until tomorrow.